Mercer Council is committed to its mission of creating pathways to reduce substance-related challenges through education, support, advocacy, and partnerships throughout our community.

For over 45 years, Mercer Council has remained committed to providing high quality substance use prevention and early intervention programs, services and support to our community. From our earliest beginnings in the fall of 1978, to now – we are proud to be an agency that is championing the work of prevention. View the timeline below to learn more about our history, and read on to explore the current work that we do.

History & Timeline

Mercer Council was founded in 1978 by Kay McGrath. Her mission was to prevent addiction, to assist those suffering from addiction in getting treatment, and to educate the community on ways to reduce the adverse outcomes of addiction. During her tenure, the Council achieved a series of “firsts” in the areas of prevention, early intervention and treatment, and began serving individuals and community members across Mercer County. After starting the agency with a borrowed brownstone in downtown Trenton, on a bank loan of $5,000, Kay McGrath served as Mercer Council’s Executive Director for nearly 20 years.

In 2003, Geetha Arulmohan assumed the role of Executive Director. After a series of executive turnovers following Kay’s retirement, Geetha worked hard to restore the Council’s financial footing and to expand the agency’s recognition within the community. Through her dedication to her role and by her outstanding leadership, Geetha oversaw the purchase of a new building that would become the new home for Mercer Council’s work to continue. After nearly two years of extensive renovations, Mercer Council relocated to its current home at 1931 Brunswick Avenue in July of 2013. 

Geetha served the agency diligently and faithfully until her passing in 2017. The Geetha Arulmohan Scholarship Award was created in her honor, to celebrate her memory and legacy. Read more about the Geetha Arulmohan Scholarship Award.

Following Geetha’s passing, Barbara Sprechman and Catherine Arulmohan led the Council through an interim period, until Jocelyn Cooper, LPC, LCADC, NCC, CPS transitioned into the role of Executive Director in late 2017. Jocelyn saw the Mercer Council team through a number of difficult transitional challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic. She was deeply committed to developing and strengthening a cohesive and collaborative team. Jocelyn later moved on from the Council to pursue private practice, and visits often to express her continued support of the mission and vision of our agency.

Margarita Leahy, MA, ED.S, NCC, LPC, LCADC, ACS joined the Council in May of 2022 after working as Assistant Director of the Counseling and Prevention Services center at The College of New Jersey. She comes to the Council’s leadership as a bilingual, bicultural resident of Mercer County, who is committed to supporting her community. Margarita has a wealth of experience that includes several years of clinical, administrative, psychiatric, educational and prevention work, and is tremendously proud to lead the Mercer Council team – onward and upward!

Our Work

Mercer Council offers a variety of evidence-based programs, services and support to provide children and families with tools that empower them to make healthy, safe and responsible choices. If you are interested in partnering with us to receive a program or service, please fill out our Request for Services Form.

We are proud to support the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County and the Youth Coalition of Mercer County, serving adults and youth with opportunities to be involved in understanding local trends and advocating for change. We have formed important strategic partnerships around the county to leverage resources and best serve members of all of our communities. Read more about our Community Coalitions.

The Prevention Hub is a statewide system of provider agencies that serve as local connectors to substance use prevention programs and resources. Mercer Council is proud to host Mercer County’s Hub, offering local resources to residents county-wide. Read more about our Prevention Hub.